As class is moving forward, we are shifting more to writing about our research and presenting our research. We have been putting our findings on the Transatlantic site all along, but now we are actually building our own exhibits and writing about the things we’ve found and it is all very exciting and much more work than I anticipated.
I use the Internet all the time, to shop and find coupons, to relax on my favorite websites, to watch shows and movies, and to research everything from the artists mentioned in my Victorian Literature class to Steampunk costume ideas. I love borrowings around good exhibits, and although I was aware a lot of work went into developing complex websites, I never really considered how things got online. After the last few weeks of class, I will never see websites the same again.
Dr. May thought we should know more about how our particular website works as well as the basics behind all websites, so we spent an entire class learning to code HTML and then another week building sites.
(Mine is pretty!)
The site I built in class (featuring images of books and text from my own version of “Beauty and the Beast”) helped me put together a five-page site to display the research and work I have been doing on Emily D. West and “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”
I am so proud of this website; it may look like a super-simple, text-based 90’s site (because it is) but I poured myself into building it, finding perfect (and free) images of vintage wall paper to use for wall paper, coding out the lines of the song (each line has to have its own paragraph tags, which can take ages to type), and compiling everything in the simple text editor. I also gave myself some great headaches from staring at the screen for so long and managed to impress/annoy most of my friends by proudly displaying my work.
While we were busy building our own sites, Dr. May has been working on our exhibit, and it is looking beautiful:
(That is some of my sheet music in the image at the top!)
Everyone’s personal research has come together into a smooth story: the tale of slavery in Texas and the effect it had on the people and the culture therein. We have talked about transitions—how Texas was a place where many new slaves were sent to be broken, the way the state transitioned from a Mexican holding to a republic and then a member of the United States of America and how this affected slaves and slavery, and even the transition of the song “The Yellow Rose of Texas” as time and re-telling changed its tale.
I don’t think I can actually convey the sheer energy building up in each class as we gather and compare notes and look for next steps forward while making sure the last steps are securely in place, but I know we are on our way. This exhibit, with our team pulling in research and insight and Dr. May leading us into the realm of the Great World Wide Web, is going to be a great exhibit. We have amassed tons of papers and documents to read and transcribe. We have put in hours not only finding our documents, but also entering them into the site and typing all the little bits and pieces of data to ensure people can find and use the images.